news · 06/06/2024 0

Intel details Lunar Lake – its radical new laptop processor


Intel shared details about its upcoming Lunar Lake processor, which will power laptops by the end of 2024. Lunar Lake is a major overhaul that comes right after Intel’s Core Ultra (Meteor Lake), which the company called its biggest architectural shift in 40 years.

Lunar Lake is a new system-on-chip design that promises 14% faster CPU performance at the same clock speed, a 50% bump in graphics performance, and up to 60% better battery life than Meteor Lake.

Intel unveils Lunar Lake - its radical new mobile chips

Lunar Lake is built not on an Intel process (because Intel is working on its 1.8nm EUV 18A node), but on TSMC’s 3nm node – N3 for the compute tile, and N6 for the platform tile.

The first big change compared to the previous Intel mobile chip is the RAM. It’s now baked into the package itself – you can either choose 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM and it can’t be upgraded later on.

The other big changes are the Efficiency cores and the move away from hyperthreading. Meteor Lake brought low-power efficiency (LP-E) cores alongside the efficiency (E) and performance (P) cores to pursue better battery life. But that seemingly didn’t work, so it’s axing the configuration with Lunar Lake, instead opting for a split between four new “Lion Cove” P cores and four new “Skymont E cores”.

Dropping hyperthreading reportedly doesn’t hurt performance – Intel claims up to 1.5 times better performance at a comparable draw to Meteor Lake. Per Intel, the “Lion Cove” P cores bring a 50% performance-per-watt improvement, and around 20% to 80% from the “Skymont” E cores. In fact, the new “Skymont” E cores offer around 2% instructions-per-clock improvement over Raptor Lake’s P core design – you read that right – Intel’s Lunar Lake efficiency cores are faster per clock than Raptor Lake’s performance cores.

This improvement reportedly comes from the added cache, the new process node, and the new architectural design.

Intel unveils Lunar Lake - its radical new mobile chips

Graphics-wise, Lunar Lake brings Xe2 graphics with up to 60 TOPS (tera operations per second), which will essentially make entry-level GPUs redundant. Intel claims a 1.5x improvement over the Xe GPU in Meteor Lake.

Finally, let’s address AI. Lunar Lake triples the NPU die, doubles the memory bandwidth, and boosts the clock from 1.4GHz to 1.95GHz. That results in a boost from the 11.5 TOPS of Meteor Lake to 48 TOPS in Lunar Lake.

Intel says the added power draw is mitigated by the speed advantage – just 5.8 seconds for 20 iterations of Stable Diffusion vs 20.9 seconds on the previous chip.

Intel unveils Lunar Lake - its radical new mobile chips

Intel aims for an end-of-2024 release for Lunar Lake. It supports PCI-Express 5, Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 2.1, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, and Gigabit Ethernet.

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